Chou Wu Tong (Folium Clerodendri)

What Is Chou Wu Tong

Chou Wu Tong commonly known as Folium Clerodendri is the twig with leaves of Clerodendrum trichotomum, which is a deciduous bush or small tree belonging to the family Verbenaceae. It is a commonly used ethnic medicine in China, which first appeared in <Tu Jing Ben Cao> (Illustrated Classic of Materia Medica) in 1,061 AD.

There are about 258 species of Clerodendrum, which are mainly distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and South America. Some of these species are important herbal medicines. Some of these species are common garden plants.

Clerodendrum trichotomum likes light and is slightly shade-tolerant, drought-tolerant, and has good adaptability. They grow well in sandy soil with warm and humid climates, good fertilizer, and water conditions. They often grow in hillside shrubs below 2,400 meters above sea level. They are distributed in China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.

Clerodendrum trichotomum

In summer, before the flowers of Clerodendrum trichotomum bloom, people gather their twigs with leaves, remove impurities, dry them in the sun, cut them into pieces, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Chou Wu Tong contains apigenin, apigenin-7-O-β-D-glucuronide methyl ester, 1-hydroxy-1-(8-palmitoyloxyethyl) cyclohexanon, 5-O-butyl cleroindin D, rengyolone, cleroindin C, cleroindin B, rengyol, isorengyol, acteoside, isoacteoside, decaffeoylacteoside, jionoside D, methyl caffeate, 3,4-Dihydroxyphenethyl alchohol, clerodendrin A-F, trichotomoside, orixine, orixidine, isoorixine, β-sitosterol, β-daucosterol, anthraquinones, volatile oils, and phytohemagglutinin.

Generally, the green Chou Wu Tong with a specific odor is preferred. Chewing a good quality Chou Wu Tong may cause bitterness and astringency in the mouth.

According to <Ben Cao Tu Jing>, the medicinal property of Chou Wu Tong is relatively cool, with a pungent, bitter, and sweet taste. It has a therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the liver meridian.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to expel wind and dampness, activate meridians, calm the liver, and treat rheumatic arthralgia, numbness of the limbs, hemiplegia, gout, hypertension, migraine, malaria, hemorrhoids, dysentery, tinea of feet and hands, beriberi, rubella, scabies, sores, infantile malnutrition. It is an important component of Xi Tong Wan.


  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting carrageenan-induced paw swelling in rats and acetic acid-induced increased vascular permeability in mice.
  • Increasing the pain threshold, prolonging the latency of hot plate reaction in mice, and reducing the number of writhing in mice caused by acetic acid.
  • Anti-oxidation, scavenging DPPH free radicals and inhibiting lipid oxidation.
  • Alleviating insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and hepatic steatosis in rats induced by a high-fructose diet[1].
  • Expelling wind and dampness, treating rheumatic arthralgia and numbness of the limbs.
  • Activating meridians, treating stroke, facial distortion, and hemiplegia.
  • Dispelling wind and removing dampness, treating itchy skin caused by rubella and sores.
  • Cooling the liver and calming the liver, treating headaches and dizziness caused by hyperactivity of liver yang.
  • It cooperates with pentobarbital sodium to prolong the sleep time of experimental mice.
  • Inhibiting the proliferation of mouse melanoma B16F10 cells and inducing apoptosis of uterine cancer HeLa cells.
  • Its alcohol extract has a certain inhibitory effect on Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Proteus, and Klebsiella pneumoniae[2].
  • Acute oral administration of its extract reduced the blood pressure of spontaneously hypertensive rats but not of normotensive control rats. Chronic daily administration for 6 weeks prevented the increase in blood pressure of spontaneously hypertensive rats[3].
  • Studies have found that its extract can reduce serum uric acid, blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine levels, and increase urinary uric acid and creatinine levels, which can prevent hyperuricemia induced by potassium oxonate in mice[4].


Side Effects

At present, there are no reports in the literature that Chou Wu Tong has toxic effects, and there are no reports of serious adverse reactions when it is taken according to the prescribed dose.

If you need to take it for a long time, please consult a professional doctor and formulate a reasonable medication plan.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Chou Wu Tong should be controlled at 5-15g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, pills, powders, lotions, or mashed for external use.
  • It should not be boiled for a long time when it is used for the treatment of hypertension.
  • People who are allergic to Chou Wu Tong should not take it.
  • People with cold-dampness arthralgia should not take it.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take it under the guidance of a doctor.
  • Children and the elderly should take it under the guidance of a doctor.